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EMS teams search for survivors following Joburg building fire

Seven people were killed in the blaze which broke out on the second floor of a building on Nugget Street.

A Johannesburg firefighter on the scene of the fire in Nugget Street, Johannesburg. Picture: Hitekani Magwedze/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Emergency teams are searching for survivors in downtown Johannesburg after a deadly fire.

Seven people were killed in the blaze which broke out on the second floor of a building on Nugget Street.

Officials add seven other people have been rushed to a hospital and at least 50 have been rescued.

Of those who died, at least one jumped from the building, while others were burnt or died from smoke inhalation.

Emergency services Nana Radebe says: “While doing a search and rescue we found six people dead. In total, we have seven people who perished in the fire. Seven people have been taken to a hospital with different injuries. A man who jumped from the building is among the seven victims.”

Emergency teams say they're also battling to navigate around hundreds of shacks that have been erected inside the hijacked building that caught fire.

The building now stands smoke stained, with blankets and sheets used by some to escape hanging from its windows.

Forensic officers have begun moving the bodies of the victims while survivors look on.

Radebe says the search and rescue operation has been difficult, given the number of shacks that had been erected inside.

She says investigations into the cause of the fire will resume soon.

“We are still busy with the search and we have managed to find six people that have died inside, another tried to jump; bringing the total to seven.”

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba says he is heartbroken.

It's not clear what sparked the fire.